Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Flour Bakery's banana bread

Yep, another banana bread. There's a method to my madness. Really. (Ahhh...but do I know a hawk from a handsaw? That's the real question.)

Actually, I have not only one, but two whole reasons why I'm inundating you with banana bread recipes. The first is that I seem to have a Goldilocksian relationship with bananas. I either have too many bananas or not enough. It's never just right. (You can guess what prompted this banana bread recipe. When you have three perfect overripe bananas, that's practically a hand-engraved invitation to make banana bread.)

And secondly (more excitingly), this particular banana bread has a close relationship with my next giveaway. Yes, another giveaway! Almost two years ago, I began writing A Bluebonnet in Beantown, and now many posts and several gray hairs later (I don't think the two are related), here we are. So keep an eye out for that in a couple of weeks.

So...banana bread...Does it tell you something about this banana bread that I baked it last night and the entire loaf is already gone? Pretzel Boy, himself, ate five slices. Not all at once, of course. In other words, complete and utter deliciousness. Its texture is perfection.

Flour Bakery's banana bread
From Flour Bakery + Cafe, Boston, MA

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
3 ½ very ripe medium bananas (1 1/3 cups mashed)
2 tablespoons crème fraiche or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Heat the oven to 325ºF degrees. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment, beat the sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Or whip by hand with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 8 minutes.)

With the mixer on low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil. Be sure NOT to pour the oil in all at once; add it slowly so that it has time to incorporate into the eggs and doesn't deflate the air you've just beaten into the batter. This took about 1 minute.

Add the mashed bananas, crème fraiche, and vanilla and mix on low speed until just combined. Fold in the dry ingredients and nuts by hand until thoroughly combined, so there are no more flour streaks in the batter.

Pour the batter into a buttered 9×5-inch loaf pan and bake for 60 to 75 minutes, until the top of the banana bread is golden brown and springs back when you poke it in the middle. If your finger sinks when you poke it, it needs to bake a little longer. Let cool for at least 30 minutes and then pop out of the pan and serve. Keeps for 2 to 3 days at room temperature, tightly wrapped. Or store in the freezer, tightly wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 weeks and defrost overnight at room temperature.

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